For a country about the size of the US state of Oregon, or Britain in Europe, Uganda offers a surprisingly wide variety of activities and attractions to rival much bigger destinations. Uganda is home to the world’s longest river, the Nile River; the world’s second largest freshwater body, Lake Victoria; and glaciers on the equator high up in the Rwenzori Mountains, Africa’s highest mountain range.
Beyond the mountains and savannah plains, over 50% of the world’s endangered mountain gorillas call Uganda home, as do over 50% of Africa’s bird species at 1072.
But the biggest charm is with the people of Uganda – considered some of the friendliest and most welcoming in the world. Visitors and residents consistently say that Uganda is one of the friendliest countries in the world. And there is good reason.
Before you travel, below are some frequently asked questions to guide your safari planning.
The majority on international travelers come through Entebbe International Airport 35km southeast of Kampala City. The airport is served by a number of global airliners among them Emirates, Turkish, Ethiopian, Qatar, South African, Kenya Airways, KLM, and Brussels.
Please note that Kwezi Outdoors does not handle international flights. Check with your airline before your trip to Uganda.
A valid passport is mandatory and a single entry Uganda Visa is available online at visas.immigration.go.ug (opens in a new window). A single entry visa to Uganda costs US$50, and is valid for up to three months. Application for visas and payment is done online. You need at least two weeks before your trip to start the online application.
All travelers are required to have a yellow fever vaccination before travel to Uganda. Exceptions are only accepted if one has a doctor or medical facility request from home country. This must be presented at arrival. Travelers are advised to discuss their travel insurance with their operators before travel. Some activities like mountaineering and extreme adventure may require travel insurance.
Kwezi Outdoors will work with our partners and service providers to meet the needs of our guests who may require special care. Uganda’s tourism industry is quiet young and most accommodations may not have the right facilities for people with disabilities. Let us know in good time in case you have special needs.
A Kwezi Outdoors representative will meet you at the airport and transport you to our first night’s hotel. When registering, you will provide us with a copy of your passport and flight information to facilitate this.
Uganda is known as one of the safest countries to visit. Basic precautions should be taken, as in all countries, and common sense used. Use safe deposit boxes where available; secure travel documents and valuables. If in doubt seek advice from your Kwezi Outdoors guide.
English and Swahili are the official languages of Uganda. English is widely spoken around the country. Swahili is more common with the border town and communities. Luganda, a Bantu language is the business language around the country.
Uganda is UTC/GMT +3.
Uganda straddles the equator, which results in a tropical climate with little temperature fluctuation throughout the year. The country has two dry seasons, June through August and December through February. Average temperatures hover around 81°F/27°C in the afternoon and 61°F/14°C in the morning. Generally, temperatures are always cooler at higher altitude areas such as the gorilla parks, and warmer and drier in the north near Kidepo Valley National Park.
Though Uganda is seated on the equator, the weather is tempered by the elevation at 2000m ASL. Uganda dressing is very diverse from the traditional to the trending international brands. While much of Uganda is warm, some areas may be cold. If you are going into the mountainous regions, you are advised to carry along a warm sweater.
Uganda uses the British system of 220-240 volts with a 3-pin (square) socket. You can travel with an adaptor but in case you don’t, you can easily buy one from the malls or electronic outlets in the cities.
There is very good mobile telephone coverage around the country. Signals may be poor or absent in some areas of national parks. Mobile telephone coverage tends to drop in mountainous and hilly or sparely populated areas with few telecom towers. Over 80% of the population uses mobile devices.
Like mobile telephone coverage, internet coverage is wide spread around the country. To access internet coverage, you may need to buy a local SIM card for your mobile device. If you are roaming, then this may not be necessary. Most accommodation facilities provide free but limited Wi-Fi connections.
The official currency is the Uganda Shilling abbreviated sh or UGX. Common international currencies like the US dollar, the UK pound, and the Euro are freely convertible in the urban centre. Other major currencies can also be exchanged in Kampala. If you are using US dollar bills, please note that only post 2006 bills are accepted.
International credit cards are accepted in hotels, at ATMs, and major shopping malls. The VISA card is the most commonly used in the urban centers. ATMs are also available in most of the major urban areas and VISA cards can draw local currency equivalents from the machines. A fee may apply on some ATM outlets.
There is no set tipping policy or expectation. However, there is a growing culture of tipping at the discretion of the guest. Any token of appreciation is gladly appreciated.
Uganda is a beautiful country with a diversity of people, landscapes, wildlife and natural beauty that has amazed travelers. You will certainly want to share memories of this wonderful land. In general, photography around the tourist destinations is OK. It is advisable to ask before photographing people especially for close ups. If in doubt, please consult with our guide.
For your trip, it is advisable to bring extra batteries and a car charger especially if there are to be long transfers. All accommodation facilities have charging points that you can use. Remember to carry an adapter if you don’t use the British power system.
Situated at the geographical heart of the African continent, Uganda has long been a cultural melting pot, as evidenced by its many indigenous languages, and an equally diverse mosaic of music, art and way of life. Uganda has some of the oldest centralized kingdoms in Africa—with the Bunyoro and Buganda kingdoms going back over 600 years.
While in Kampala, you can get a sampling of the Uganda cultures from different places of entertainment. The Uganda National Theatre, art galleries and cultural centres are some of the most popular places to visit. There is also a host of craft markets from which one can get a variety of cultural items and dressings from around Uganda.
Uganda is a religiously diverse and tolerant nation with Christianity widely professed in over 80% of the population. This land is also home to the Uganda Martyrs, a group of 45 mostly young men who were executed for their faith between 31 January 1885 and 27 January 1887. Uganda marks 3rd June as a holiday to remember the sacrifice the martyrs made for their faith. The day brings together over 2 million Christian believers from around the world to Namugongo, a Kampala suburb.
Kwezi Outdoors Ltd does not operator any flights. However, there are domestic flights between the Kampala/Entebbe and the main national parks. Depending on your budget, you can choose between the scheduled or chartered flights. Helicopter transfers and safaris are also available but can be costly. The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority does not allow night flights to the various tourist destinations in Uganda.
Uganda Public Holidays 2019
These are the public holidays in Uganda. Islamic holidays fall on variable days and dates may change from what is reflected here. That however, will not affect our commitment to serve you through the year.
01 January: New Year’s Day
26 January: NRM Liberation Day
19 April: Good Friday
21 April: Easter Sunday
22 April: Easter Monday
08 March: International Women’s Day
01 May: Labour Day
03 June: Martyr’s Day
09 June: National Heroes Day
Eid al-Fitr: End of Ramadan (date variable)
09 October: Independence Day
Eid al-Adha: Feast of the Sacrifice (date variable)
25 December: Christmas Day
26 December: Boxing Day